Do you doubt whether or not you are in shape? Even if you consider yourself healthy, you might find room for improvement.
If most cases, determining whether or not you’re overweight comes down to your body mass index (BMI). According to data published by the Calorie Control Council, which is an international association representing the low- and reduced-calorie food and beverage sector, a BMI of 24 or less signifies a healthy weight. By comparison, experts consider a BMI that falls between 25 and 29.9 as overweight. Lastly, a BMI of 30 or higher would suggest that an individual is obese.
Adding to that, more Americans of today are overweight or obese compared to prior generations. According to data made available by NBCNews.com, the obesity rate in America has increased by more than 40 percent in the last 20 years.
In addition to putting more strain on the joints, being overweight or obese can increase the risk of developing a variety of chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and even certain cancers. Fortunately, many overweight and obese adults in America have recognized the toll that extra weight has on their health. And they now decided to get in shape.
Can You Be out of Shape If You’re Not Overweight or Obese?
Contrary to popular belief, ill-fitting clothes, a high BMI, and being overweight are not the only signs of being out of shape. Many Americans who are otherwise height-weight proportionate are struggling with many of the same health problems that are synonymous with being overweight or obese. And cardiovascular and respiratory problems are at least two of them.
To help substantiate this claim, we need only look at a study published by Science Daily, a popular website and aggregator of science-based press releases. The study noted that nearly half of all Americans, including those who are height-weight proportionate, have cardiovascular disease. And in many cases, the condition stems from leading a sedentary lifestyle and making poor food choices.
As far as respiratory problems are concerned, more than 37 million people in America are struggling with asthma or other chronic lung diseases, according to lung.org. And similar to those with cardiovascular disease, many are height-weight proportionate. Given these statistics, it is possible for some individuals to be out of shape without being overweight.
Thousands of Americans Are Choosing to Get Fit and Lead a Healthier Lifestyle
Although a large percentage of the U.S. population is considered overweight or obese, many individuals are choosing to do something about it.
According to a study published by Harvard Health Publishing, which included 44,000 men and women and ran from 1999 to 2016, researchers found that the majority of study participants admitted to forgoing foods containing low-quality carbs and saturated fats. Instead, they chose to consume high-quality carbohydrates and plant proteins. Many study participants also reported consuming less refined sugar and eliminating saturated fats from their diet.
According to most nutritionists, dieticians, and physicians, these dietary changes can boost energy levels and speed up metabolism, which helps individuals to either achieve or maintain a healthy weight. It is worth noting that those who are not overweight or obese can also benefit from consuming a healthier diet.
Along with making better food choices, many Americans are making exercise a part of their lifestyle. According to statisa.com, which is a leading statistics, market research, and business intelligence website, between 2000 and 2017, the number of Americans starting a gym membership increased by more than 30 percent.
10 Things That Might Reveal You Are Not in Shape
Being overweight or obese are apparent signs of not being in shape. However, some tell-tale signs can fly under the radar and manifest into serious health problems later on. This scenario is often the case when it comes to cardiovascular and respiratory problems. That said, let’s take a look at ten things that could indicate you are not in shape even if you think otherwise:
1. Feeling Breathless
Feeling breathless is one of the many symptoms associated with asthma and other chronic lung diseases. However, it is also one of the many signs that you may not be in as good a shape as you think. And this is especially true if you’re feeling breathless after completing simple tasks, such as going for a walk or climbing a single flight of stairs, for example.
According to Dr. Cordelia Carter, a sports orthopedic surgeon, feeling breathless, aside from asthma and other chronic lung diseases, is a sign that the cardiovascular system is working much harder to supply oxygen to muscles to help keep pace with a sudden increase in physical activity.
After the cardiovascular system gets accustomed to regular physical activity, it no longer works quite as hard, which means feelings of breathlessness will eventually start to subside.
2. Back Pain While Standing
Aside from diagnosed back problems, back pain while standing is yet another common sign that one might not be in as good a shape as they think. In most cases, back pain while standing indicates that the core and back muscles are weak. In many cases, this form of back pain stems from poor posture or leading a sedentary lifestyle. According to Dr. Nadya Swedan, a physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist based in New York, the best way to resolve back pain while standing is to perform a variety of abdominal exercises.
3. Sore Arms
When it comes to the upper body, one of the many signs that might suggest an individual is not as in good a shape as they think are sore arms. In most cases, this will become evident if they suddenly start playing sports, such as baseball or football, for example, after living a life that was the void of physical activity. In short, the soreness that most people experience is a byproduct of the shoulder muscles not being well-conditioned.
Sore arms can also stem from muscle imbalances. In either case, resolving the pain and discomfort often comes down to performing light shoulder exercises, according to most physicians, physical therapists, and kinesiologists.
4. Rapid Heart Rate While Resting
If you have a rapid heart rate while resting, it could be another indication that you are not in shape. This heartbeat results when the cardiovascular and respiratory system has to work harder to circulate blood to vital organs and throughout the body. To normalize your heart rate, it would be a good idea to perform aerobic exercises, such as running, swimming, or bicycling, more frequently.
5. Frequent Injuries
Not surprisingly, individuals who are not in shape are more prone to injuries than those who are. Frequent injuries are often an indication that your muscles are not well-conditioned. Or, they may indicate that you may have one or more muscle imbalances. Foam rolling and other light stretching exercises can help lower the risk of suffering painful and frequent injuries.
6. Getting Tired Easily
If you feel extremely fatigued after performing light exercises or normal daily activities, it’s a good sign that you are not in shape. If this is happening, it means that your cardiovascular, respiratory, and nervous system are all working a lot harder than they typically do. That said, performing both aerobic and strength training exercises can help boost your energy levels.
7. A Weak Upper Body
Individuals who do not exercise regularly typically have weak upper body strength. As such, many will find lifting objects up their chest or over their head difficult.
Similar to activities that involve the use of your legs, those that require using upper body muscles can put a strain on both the cardiovascular and respiratory system if you’re not used to them. Additionally, this could be true if you haven’t worked them in some time.
And this can lead to sore muscles as well as fatigue. However, there is some good news worth noting. When you perform upper body exercises frequently, those muscles eventually become stronger as a result. Further, the cardiovascular and respiratory system won’t have to work as hard, which means you will have energy.
8. A Weak Lower Body
People who are not in shape will notice that they lack strength in their lower body muscles. And they notice this shortfall if they try to perform lower body exercises all of a sudden. Think squats, for example!
9. Difficulty Sleeping
Insomnia and other sleep disturbances aside, most individuals who are not in shape find getting a good night’s sleep difficult. Generally speaking, difficulty sleeping means that you haven’t exerted enough energy during the day to tire yourself out at night. And this is often the case for those who lead a sedentary lifestyle.
10. Feeling Sore For Days After Working out
If your entire body feels sore for days after working out, it might indicate you’re out of shape. Even after an intense workout, soreness starts typically to subside after a couple of days. If you’re still feeling sore after several days your body needs more time to adjust to being physically active.
In summary, regular exercise is essential for good overall health. Have you skipped exercising recently? Or, are you altogether new to working out? Then you should carefully listen to your body and perform exercises that are on par with your fitness level. You should also seek the advice of a physician or personal trainer before you embark on your new program.